Saturday, October 29, 2011

Admin: Wrecking The Curve

  • I was up late Wednesday night/Thursday morning, trying to soothe an unhappy baby. As I was feeding her, I noticed a new post by Tobold. A post wherein he linked back to my post discussing different reactions to Mists of Pandaria. My first thought was "Tobold actually reads my blog?" My second was "I wonder if anyone will follow that link."

  • Thank goodness that I don't pay for bandwidth or I would be in big trouble with my wife now.

  • It is always amazing to me when one of the top tier blogs like Tobold's MMORPG Blog, Player Versus Developer, or Kill Ten Rats links back to me. If there is any doubt about that Tobold is a major blogger, you just have to look at the spike on that graph. I'm sure that I received those hits because I found myself in the middle of the ongoing Tobold/Syncaine feud. Heck, Syncaine even commented on my post (which I appreciate. Thanks!)

  • Things have come back down to normal now. And I'll try to keep it here with more comic book and fake RPG campaign posts. But it was nice to have my moment in the blogging spotlight.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Comic Roundup: October 12, 2011

  • Comics! More comics! Too many comics?

  • Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris issue 7 & Warlord of Mars issue 10 - More Warlord books. Still good, solid stories, even if they are painting around the edges of the original books. I wonder when they start on The Gods of Mars.

  • Optic Nerve issue 12 - This is one of those books that I've heard vaguely about, but never thought to pick up. Now that I'm approaching middle age, I feel like I should be reading grown up books like this. Sometimes, grownups are right about things. Now I need to look for back issues.

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issues 1 & 2 - Remember everything that I just said about being a grown up? Screw that. TMNT is rad. Especially ones that aren't color coded.

  • Batwoman issue 2 - I love everything about this book. I miss having Greg Rucka on it, but JH Williams and company make it like he isn't even gone.

  • Also purchased: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 issue 2, Stormwatch issues 1 & 2, Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom issue 3, and Glamourpuss issue 21. All are currently unread, waiting on my nightstand for me to find the time.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Random Shots: Are Pandas The Apples Or Oranges In This Metaphor?

  • I want to link a couple of posts here, both because they are interesting and because they illustrate a point that everyone in the debate seems to be missing.

  • Werewolves in top hats, gnomes performing the dance moves from Bloodhound Gang’s Bad Touch, steampunk motorcycles and planes, Murlocs, escorting orphaned children through the Dark Portal in Hellfire Peninsula, ridiculous sexual dimorphism in PC races, non-combat pets, Haris Pilton, giant cow-men riding on chocobos[...]

    And you’re worried about pandas?

    - Melmoth, Killed In A Smiling Accident

    Somehow I don’t think pre-teens were running around knocking out elite mobs in the open-world, organizing town raids, playing the first version of the PvP system, min/maxing the second system, or sitting around with 39 of their closest pre-teen friends to knock out Rag after a five hour raid. And to suggest that this was just a ‘very minor’ part of the game, well, guess Blizzard disagreed when they expanded that ‘very minor’ part for well over a year straight, while at the same time picking up millions of new subs. Naw, total coincidence.

    - Syncaine, Hardcore Casual

  • I don't think that there has been greater instance of two sides of an argument talking past one another. (Hyperbole alert!) When people argue that World of Warcraft is a silly game, they are talking about the world. When people argue that it is a serious game, they are talking about the systems. So when you look at their seperate arguments, they are both right.

  • Just a reminder: an argument where both sides are right is a stupid argument. Now go play some video games, for goodness' sake.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Random Shots: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Panda

  • Green Armadillo tweeted that he feels strange looking forward to Mists of Pandaria while the blogging community is almost universally negative. Blizzard has handed more ammunition to people already dissatisfied with World of Warcraft. And their voices are loud, no matter how long they have been away from the game. But GA is not alone.

  • I signed up for the annual pass on Saturday.

  • I understand that it is not in vogue to like WoW anymore, but I do. It's not a game that I'm going to dedicate my life to, but it is one that I will go back to from time to time. So when Blizzard announced that Diablo III would be free for anyone who commits to twelve months of WoW subscriptions, I knew that I would be back sooner than I expected. Yes, it feels like a ploy to buoy their flagging subscription numbers, but it is a ploy that I can get behind. The total cost to play WoW and D3 makes it more than worth my while.

  • And the expansion still looks like a lot of fun. Yes, Blizzard is lifting systems from other games in toto. Yes, they are going to rewrite whole game systems again. Yes, questing is five more levels of "more of the same." Yes, the endgame will probably be as exclusionary as before. But I really don't care. That is all the stuff I sign up for when I buy a new expansion. World of Warcraft is the ultimate known quantity in MMO gaming. If I wanted something vastly different, I would subscribe to something else.

  • That said, Guild Wars 2 can't get here fast enough.

  • I'm sorry if WoW isn't for you anymore. I'm sorry if the pandas aren't ushering in the game's second coming. However I'm happy to see WoW get a little bigger and a little crazier.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 21, 2011

News Filter: Mists Of Pandaria Officially New WoW Expansion

  • As has been expected for the last two months, Blizzard has officially announced that Mists of Pandaria is the next expansion for World of Warcraft.

  • Let's get this out of the way first: wow, I was really, really wrong about that. Oops. Even more hilarious, I completely blew it when I tried to prognasticate how Blizzard my handle new races or classes. Double oops. I suppose this shows why I'm a blogger and not a psychic.

  • From MMO-Champion, here is the list of features for the expansion, along with my commentary:

    • Level cap raised to 90 - Five levels seems like the norm after Cataclysm, so no surprises here.

    • New Class: Monk - I really wanted a Brewmaster, but monk sounds to be very interesting. Curious to see where it falls on the tank/healer/DPS spectrum.

    • New Race: Pandarens - For both factions??? That is crazy awesome.

    • PvE Scenarios - Huh?

    • Pet Battle System - Using non-combat pets? I image that MMO Gamer Chick will have a huge advantage if that is the case.

    • New Talents - There is an entire panel dedicated to this update, so I'm reserving judgment until then. But so far it sounds like a huge change.

    • New continent - If anything, this was the least surprising announcement.

    • Challenge Mode Dungeons - Huh? part two.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

News Filter: Diablo III Free to WoW Subscribers

  • The craziest news ever just came out of Blizzcon 2011. Diablo III will be free for World of Warcraft players who have a twelve month subscription.

  • There has been talk that the Golden Age of MMOs is coming to an end. If ever there was a desperation move in response to that decline, this is it. Blizzard is obviously trying to establish a bulwark against declining subscriptions with Diablo III. And I think it is just crazy enough to work.

  • I still like World of Warcraft enough that I know that I will subscribe again. If you consider the eventual retail cost of D3, that would be an amazing deal. Actually, now that I look, I don't know what the price of an annual subscription would be. The website only shows options up to six months. Curiouser and curiouser.

  • UPDATE: According to Blizzard's website, this is not an annual subscription. Instead, it is a commitment to subscribe for twelve months under any of the prior subscription options. So if you subtract the cost of Diablo III (approximately $60), the subscription cost is effectively $120 (monthly), $108 (quarterly), or $96 (semiannually). If you were already going to buy D3 and want a WoW subscription, this makes it a no brainer.

  • While I'm at it, I should also point out that signing up for an annual pass also grants the Tyrael's Charger mount as well as automatic access to the next beta. Looks like I'm headed back to WoW.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

News Filter: SWTOR Press NDA Is Up, Nothing To See Here

  • Bioware has finally lifted the Press NDA for Star Wars: The Old Republic and opinions are flooding the internet. Instead of linking all of the various articles, I'll point you toward Syp's list at Bio Break where he's done a good round up.

  • Unsurprisingly, I am not participating in the beta. I didn't sign up because I never do. (An exception will be made for Guild Wars 2 if the opportunity arises.) But if I ended up with an invite, I would have given the game a try. Although I've avoided the hype like the plague, I actually want to read about the beta. I'm much more interested in the opinions of people actually playing the game. If anything would sway me to try it out, this is what I need to hear.

  • So far, the take away is that the story is good, but the gameplay is more Kill Ten Rats. I don't mind a good KTR is there is a good story behind it, so I'm curious about how well these balance out.

  • There is still the Star Wars barrier that I can't get over. I watched the laserdisc version of the original movie the other day (i.e. the version that doesn't even have the Episode IV label on it) and was reminded that, once upon a time, I was a fan of the series. Maybe SWTOR will rekindle that love, but the hurricane that was the prequels did a lot to extinguish any feelings I had for the franchise.

  • I suppose we will see what happens this December.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Listened Lately: I Come To Shanghai, Eternal Life Vol. 1

  • Although it was released back in July, I hadn't taken the time to sit down and listen to the new album from I Come To Shanghai. All of the usual excuses apply. But they all break down to "I'm stupid" because this is an amazing follow up to their debut.

  • Eternal Life, Vol 1. lasts only twenty two minutes, with nine songs shoved into three tracks, but it is mesmerizing from start to finish. It is much more conspicuously electronic than the first album, but it is never gaudy or overbearing. The lyrics are just as askew as you would want.

  • The album is free to download, but Sam and Robert really deserve your cash. I paid because I want to encourage creative people to be creative.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 10, 2011

News Filter: Co-Op Missions In Mass Effect 3

  • On various magazine covers previewed earlier today, we discover that Mass Effect 3 will feature some sort of multiplayer. Since then, Bioware has confirmed that the multiplayer mode will be four player co-op missions.

  • They also said, "Don't panic." It's too late for that. But then, this is the Internet.

  • There is a post to be written about the stupidity of tacking multiplayer modes onto single player games to curb used game sales, but it was already written several times in several places over the last couple years. It is just as true now as it was then. But that's not the post I want to write.

  • I don't like multiplayer games. I don't like to leave my fun in the hands of other people. I don't want to be the reason that other people do not have fun.

  • How much do I dislike multiplayer? I have never played the co-op mode in Portal 2. I play League of Legends entirely with bots (and I still lose). I played Borderlands front to back, both on 360 and PC, in single player, even though I had several invitations to play with others. (Sorry, Jayedub.) I solo my way through MMOs. As far as I'm concerned, multiplayer is a waste of disk space.

  • Just because I don't like multiplayer, don't mistake that as me wanting to impinge on other people's fun. It would be hypocritical of me to mimic all those who say that single player games are an aberation, though in inverse. I understand that I'm in the minority here.

  • But is this really necessary? Is co-op the thing that was keeping people from trying out Mass Effect? I doubt it.

  • UPDATE: Chris Priestly posted the details of the co-op missions as well as the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy At War system. I'm glad that they are going out of their way to say that you don't have to play multiplayer to get the best ending in single player. Gee, Bioware, thanks for putting all of this stuff in the game that I'm going to ignore. What the hell is going on over there? Why foist that on this game at all?

  • UPDATE 2: I tweeted this late last night, but I think it bares repeating here:
    They didn't call it #ME3 Galaxy at War just for co-op, folks. Just wait until they announce the Facebook game and iOS app.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

News Filter: Did The Mittani Just Win EVE Online?

  • A pair of posts have appeared on the EVE Online website that signal a major shift in where and how CCP directs the game in the future. In the first, CEO Hilmar Veigar P├ętursson admits that CCP has lost sight of its player base as it tried to push the game in ways that were of no interest to the subscribers. In the second, Senior Producer Arnar Hrafn Gylfason provides a list of all of the updates coming to the game now that the company is refocusing efforts on Flying In Space.

  • Somewhere out in cold dark, The Mittani is smiling to himself because he just won the biggest EVE Online metagame of them all. It looks like taking over the CSM and issuing his ultimatum actually worked.

  • Bravo, sir.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Played Lately: Magic: The Gathering - Duels Of The Planeswalkers 2012

  • With my limited time to play lately, I've had to seek shorter games when I can. It turns out that a game of Magic: The Gathering is perfect for a short fix.

  • Released just a few months ago, Magic: The Gathering - Duels Of The Planeswalkers 2012 is this year's iteration of 2009 game. I didn't know this had turned into a Madden-like franchise. But it is fitting if you look at how the game was updated. Like Madden, this update is primarily about adding a few tweaks, a new mode, and a new, card list. So if you liked the first game and want more, this is definitely more. If not, there is little here to change your mind.

  • The biggest update involves deck management. Although full desk construction is still not available, this version allows you to remove base cards from your deck instead of just your unlocked cards. Beyond that, the new Archenemy mode is a great change of pace. The UI is improved in almost every way, especially the layout of the campaign interface.

  • Disappointingly, there are a few bugs that crop up in the game. The card-like main menu has a tendency to spin in the opposite direction than I'm clicking. And the campaign screen lists the first mission in the expansion's Archenemy campaign no matter which screen you come to. These are little nags, but point to a lack of polish. Also, there is still no way to track in game which desks you have used to beat different duels. Since this is necessary to unlock different cards, I would like the game to help indicate this instead of needing a separate spreadsheet. (Copies available upon request.) Also, they want to sell you deck unlocks and foil conversions again. Really, WotC?

  • Again, Magic 2012 is more Magic. I really liked the first game, so I'm happy to get more. In fact, I have progressed farther in this edition than I did in the previous. If you want full deck construction, this is still not the game for you. But if you want to pit balanced preconstructed desks against one another, upgrading is a no brainer.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.